I remember poring over photo albums and sifting through boxes of photos as a kid. We have a few albums along with the annual iPhoto albums Sean creates each Christmas now, but our history lives mostly on our phones, laptops and my blog. The girls will often ask to look at the pictures. I usually relinquish my phone or computer and then slip away to fold a hamper of laundry. The other day I let myself get lost in the images—frame after frame stared back at me with wide, blue eyes, towering evergreens and expansive Adirondack skies.

The pictures sit unedited, there are bad hair day pictures, pasty-face pictures and plenty of, “Really, you had to take the picture at that angle?” shots. The thing is, there isn’t a single image that made me feel regret. I didn’t shake my head and wished I’d done more. I marveled at the things we’ve done together, the full-bodied history of living done with play and love.

I can see school just around the corner. I find myself nesting, trying to prepare for the slickers and boots that will need hanging and stowing, the space we’ll need for projects. It’s something I do each year with increasing agility, but this year there is something new, a layer that hasn’t existed before. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it and this morning it came to me.

I had crept down the hallway to look at the girls. After a summer’s worth of, “Please mom, can we sleep together?” I’d relented and disassembled three rooms to make one suite. They watched me work, growing quiet when I’d curse at a too-narrow doorway or whimper as a board slammed my bare foot. I gave them assignments to tidy this or organize that. After we were done they played for hours, together. They slept late in the sun-drenched coziness of sister-company.

The emotion I was feeling was calm. We understand what we need and we find comfort in each other. We are living a life that echoes I love you in each frame.


This post was inspired by a beautiful essay Alli Worthington wrote on the messiness of life. I am grateful for the prompt to see things through this light.